Wedding Etiquette Forum

Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?

This is sort of a cross post from my month board (with mixed reactions there), but we've hit a slight snag with our wedding plans. FI and I are marrying in his mother's backyard. It's a beautiful yard, but it's not childproofed: there's an in-ground pool and a pond, no gates/fences around either. It's not practical to fence or block off either. In fact, the current plan is to have the reception on the deck near the pool. My FMIL laid down the law the other day that guests with young children must have their kids use high chairs or booster seats during dinner to avoid any risk of little ones falling in the pool because their parents are distracted for whatever reason.

A couple of my friends have said their kids absolutely will not sit in high chairs or booster seats, and they'll just keep a close eye on them. I think they're missing my FMIL's concern which is that with food, alcohol, and conversation, it's really easy to get distracted and not notice a little one slip away and into the pool. So I'm thinking about setting up a kid's room in the house and hiring a babysitter to keep the kids entertained, get them fed. The babysitter I have in mind is a licensed teacher with a Master's in Early Childhood Education.

Im curious as to what your experiences have been with kids' rooms/baby-sitters at weddings. Did the parents like the option? How did the kids handle a strange sitter? What did you pay the sitter? Or if you're a parent, would you use a service like this at a wedding? Most of the guests with children are traveling 6+ hours to be here. Any thoughts or advice are appreciated!
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Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:a224abcf-1467-4ef6-9348-dbf6648e4e58">Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]This is sort of a cross post from my month board (with mixed reactions there), but we've hit a slight snag with our wedding plans. FI and I are marrying in his mother's backyard. It's a beautiful yard, but it's not childproofed: there's an in-ground pool and a pond, no gates/fences around either. It's not practical to fence or block off either. In fact, the current plan is to have the reception on the deck near the pool. My FMIL laid down the law the other day that guests with young children must have their kids use high chairs or booster seats during dinner to avoid any risk of little ones falling in the pool because their parents are distracted for whatever reason. A couple of my friends have said their kids absolutely will not sit in high chairs or booster seats, and they'll just keep a close eye on them. I think they're missing my FMIL's concern which is that with food, alcohol, and conversation, it's really easy to get distracted and not notice a little one slip away and into the pool. So I'm thinking about setting up a kid's room in the house and hiring a babysitter to keep the kids entertained, get them fed. The babysitter I have in mind is a licensed teacher with a Master's in Early Childhood Education. Im curious as to what your experiences have been with kids' rooms/baby-sitters at weddings. Did the parents like the option? How did the kids handle a strange sitter? What did you pay the sitter? Or if you're a parent, would you use a service like this at a wedding? Most of the guests with children are traveling 6+ hours to be here. Any thoughts or advice are appreciated!
    Posted by jess9802[/QUOTE]<div>
    </div><div>Honestly, I think your mom's demand for them to be in high chairs or booster seats is overkill, and condescending.  What is the age cutoff that she is using this rule for?  I know as a parent I would be really offended if you told me that my kid had to be in a booster seat because you basically don't think I'm a good enough parent to make sure he/she doesn't fall into the pool.  </div><div>
    </div><div>Also, I think there is a bigger risk for when people are just mingling and partying, and that dinner is the least of your worries.  If she is going to be that uptight about it, make it a kid-free event.  

    </div>
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • I think she's thinking toddlers, really - so 2 and 3 years old. Alas, my FMIL didn't come up with this rule until after the invitations had gone out - so these kids are already invited.
  • I really think that the responsibility of getting child care sits on the parents shoulders
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:e287434e-e851-48cc-a9d6-2d8fe5859832">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]I think she's thinking toddlers, really - so 2 and 3 years old. Alas, my FMIL didn't come up with this rule until after the invitations had gone out - so these kids are already invited.
    Posted by jess9802[/QUOTE]
    What difference will a booster seat make though?  Then can just as easily stand up and climb out of them.  <div>
    </div><div>I don't think having a room inside is a bad idea, but these kids were invited to the wedding, so if parents don't want to keep them in the house you can't force them to. </div>
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • jess9802jess9802 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited May 2011
    I assumed booster seats have restraints of some type - I really think that's what FMIL is wanting- something to make sure the kids don't slip away. FMIL is thinking that after dinner, the parents will have an easier time monitoring the kids down on the lower part of the lawn, where there are kids' toys in a safe play area.

    We'd always planned on inviting children, all of my friends have known that there's a pool and a pond in the yard, and FMIL never said before that she would impose that kind of requirement. I share her concern, especially since two of these children are described as daredevils and hell on wheels.

    Arrgh. I'm just frustrated by the whole thing and trying to accommodate my friends and respect my FMIL's wishes.
  • DramaGeekDramaGeek member
    2500 Comments 5 Love Its
    edited May 2011
    If I were your FMIL, I'd be really concerned about the liability issue here.  It's too bad your invites already went out, I think a kid free event would be the way to go.  Perhaps waivers for your guests so that your FMIL can't be held liable are in order.

    ETA - can you give more details on the set up?  Would it be possible to hold the main events of the reception away from the pool/pond?
  • edited May 2011
    If you're thinking about hiring a licensed teacher to watch the kids, what about hiring a lifeguard to be around the pool and pond instead?  The lifeguard could keep an extra eye on the kids and would be there in case anyone fell in.  That way you're not forcing the parents to put their kids in a seat or leave them with a sitter, but you are doing something to be a little more careful. 

    ETA: I just saw Drama's post about liability.  I assume your FMIL has a combination of liability insurance for the wedding as well as homeowner insurance and both know that she has the pool and pond?  Obviously it's better to prevent accidents than pay for them, but it's smart to be prepared.  

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:c8aeb655-9faa-4048-99e2-200ab94334ad">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]If you're thinking about hiring a licensed teacher to watch the kids, what about hiring a lifeguard to be around the pool and pond instead?  The lifeguard could keep an extra eye on the kids and would be there in case anyone fell in.  That way you're not forcing the parents to put their kids in a seat or leave them with a sitter, but you are doing something to be a little more careful. 
    Posted by jessicabessica[/QUOTE]

    <div>Yeah I definitely think this is a better way to go.  You can just have him dressed normally, but hire him to watch the pool area.  It doesn't even need to be an actual lifeguard, just someone who can pay attention to the pool the whole time.  Not an invited guest, hire someone else.</div>
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:34354e63-c281-46ca-9853-158b2df071c2">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : Yeah I definitely think this is a better way to go.  You can just have him dressed normally, but hire him to watch the pool area.  It doesn't even need to be an actual lifeguard, just someone who can pay attention to the pool the whole time.  Not an invited guest, hire someone else.
    Posted by dnbeach12[/QUOTE]

    <div>I agree with having him/her dressed normally (or whatever is appropriate for your wedding), but I would go for a lifeguard.  You can be licensed at the age of 15, and you learn how to pull people out of water and administer first aid/CPR.  I would guess a high school student would do it for a fairly reasonable rate.  </div>

  • edited May 2011
    No to the babysitter with the kids room, I don't let "just anyone" watch my kids. And I would really suggest either finding a way to block off the pool, even if it's that garden netting stuff and wooden posts, or letting all of the parents know that there is a pool and it's not fenced, because that would affect my decision on coming/bringing the kids. 
    Trying to force kids to sit in boosters and high chairs is ridiculous, though. 

    ETA- ooh I like the hiring a lifeguard idea!
  • To clarify, I was (mostly) joking about the waiver.  Definitely make sure FMIL has a rider for the wedding day and that it will cover this kind of event.  I also love Jessica's idea of hiring a lifeguard.  I actually would hire someone who is a trained lifeguard rather than just someone to watch the pool though.  Call your local red cross, I bet they can give you a list.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:3a71fcfa-e8a6-4b8e-ae0b-95e4b0204854">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]To clarify, I was (mostly) joking about the waiver.  Definitely make sure FMIL has a rider for the wedding day and that it will cover this kind of event.  I also love Jessica's idea of hiring a lifeguard.  I actually would hire someone who is a trained lifeguard rather than just someone to watch the pool though.  Call your local red cross, I bet they can give you a list.
    Posted by DramaGeek[/QUOTE]

    <div>I confess it was my FI's idea.  He is trying to work, but I asked his advice :)</div>

  • jess9802jess9802 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited May 2011
    You can get a sense of the layout of the property in my planning bio. Basically, the house is at the north end of the property. Off the back of the house, there is a flat lawn area where we'd decided to have the ceremony. The pond is also on the lower part of the lawn. Toward the south end of the property, on slightly higher ground, there is the in-ground pool. The poolhouse and back part of the lawn are farther back than the pool. There is just enough room back there for the reception seating and the buffet tables.

    We're not having dancing or anything. We'll probably have the cake table closer to the house. We were also going to have the patio furniture (wicker couches and chairs with thick cushions) scattered throughout the yard to create lounging areas for people to sit and relax.

    Waivers are out of the question. It's just too legalistic for us, even though FFIL and I are both lawyers. If FMIL insists on the high chairs if we have dinner by the pool, it's either a kids' room or simply having the ceremony by the pool and the reception down by the house. It's a bummer, though - I had these visions of floating candles and flowers in the pool, something really pretty, of being able to walk down an aisle to FI.
  • My only reasoning of it not needing it to be an actual lifeguard is that he would be more just watching the pool to make sure kids don't go near it, and would know instantly if someone did fall or jump in.  Obviously you would be better off with a lifeguard for worst case scenarios though.
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • OP- what about the lifeguard idea?
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • jess9802jess9802 member
    Knottie Warrior 500 Comments Combo Breaker
    edited May 2011
    The lifeguard idea is a possibility, though it seems weird to me for some reason--maybe I need to get the image of David Hasselhoff sitting shirtless with a whistle around his neck out of my head. It's an idea I'll have to discuss with FI and my FMIL. I'd initially thought the babysitter would be ideal because of the time of the wedding and kids getting bored with adults sitting around and talking.
  • Yeah, don't think traditional lifeguard.  You could just tell him/her to dress matching the formality of your wedding.  So if shirt and tie is appropriate, that is what they would wear.  Nobody has to even knonw they are a lifeguard.  
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • I see where you're going with the babysitter idea, and you certainly could set up a kid's room, but more often than not it seems those things go unused and you spent money for nothing.  You really can't force your guests to use it, so if they aren't comfortable with a babysitter they haven't personally vetted (and most parents of young kids won't be) then they just won't use it and you'll be out the money anyway.  At least with the lifeguard (and he can definitely dress more like a guest) you're doing something proactive that doesn't dictate how your guests should handle their children.
  • In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?:
    [QUOTE]No to the babysitter with the kids room, I don't let "just anyone" watch my kids. And I would really suggest either finding a way to block off the pool, even if it's that garden netting stuff and wooden posts, or letting all of the parents know that there is a pool and it's not fenced, because that would affect my decision on coming/bringing the kids.  Trying to force kids to sit in boosters and high chairs is ridiculous, though.  ETA- ooh I like the hiring a lifeguard idea!
    Posted by Ghoti[/QUOTE]

    Really? You wouldn't trust your kids with a licensed teacher? I assume you plan to homeschool them through high school then? Seriously, though, the parents will be in the general vicinity the entire time.

    I think the indoor room with a babysitter is a wonderful idea! It will be so much more fun for the kids. They can play games, watch movies, and hang out with eachother instead of wondering around the adult's party while their parents are constantly being worried about where and what their kids are doing (that's what I would be doing, at least). Even with a lifeguard there I would still be having to watch them AND entertain them all night. 
  • Beachy730Beachy730 member
    5000 Comments Fourth Anniversary Combo Breaker
    edited May 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:2848ed47-4e18-4796-bc71-7c61b813c60a">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Really? You wouldn't trust your kids with a licensed teacher? I assume you plan to homeschool them through high school then? Seriously, though, the parents will be in the general vicinity the entire time. I think the indoor room with a babysitter is a wonderful idea! It will be so much more fun for the kids. T<strong>hey can play games, watch movies, and hang out with eachother instead of wondering around the adult's party while their parents are constantly being worried about where and what their kids are doing (that's what I would be doing, at least). Even with a lifeguard there I would still be having to watch them AND entertain them all night. </strong>
    Posted by CamilleJon[/QUOTE]

    <div>But they were invited to the wedding, so you can't make them go into the room with the babysitter.  How would you like it if you were invited to a wedding and then told you weren't allowed into the wedding, you had to go sit in another room and eat your dinner?  </div><div>
    </div><div>I think if you can swing it OP I would do the babysitter and the lifeguard.  If kids want to go inside they can, but if not then you have peace of mind by the pool as well.  </div>
    imageBabyFruit Ticker
  • edited May 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:54fc0a48-5eee-4a59-8f8e-40f70bc0908c">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : But they were invited to the wedding, so you can't make them go into the room with the babysitter. <strong> How would you like it if you were invited to a wedding and then told you weren't allowed into the wedding, you had to go sit in another room and eat your dinner? </strong>  I think if you can swing it OP I would do the babysitter and the lifeguard.  If kids want to go inside they can, but if not then you have peace of mind by the pool as well.  
    Posted by dnbeach12[/QUOTE]

    If I were 5??? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't give a shiit. Actually I would happy I got to hang with kids instead of (boring) grown-ups :)

    ETA: Hey OP, how old are these kids?
  • edited May 2011
    In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:54fc0a48-5eee-4a59-8f8e-40f70bc0908c">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : But they were invited to the wedding, so you can't make them go into the room with the babysitter.  How would you like it if you were invited to a wedding and then told you weren't allowed into the wedding, you had to go sit in another room and eat your dinner?   I think if you can swing it OP I would do the babysitter and the lifeguard.  If kids want to go inside they can, but if not then you have peace of mind by the pool as well.  
    Posted by dnbeach12[/QUOTE]

    <div>I agree.  If the parents felt so strongly that their kids would be happier not at the wedding and the parents don't want to watch them, they can leave them at home or otherwise figure out their own childcare.  </div><div>
    </div><div>And I don't think that not wanting to leave your toddler with a stranger with an unknown number of other kids means that a parent is being unreasonable.  I'm not a parent, but I might feel that way when I am a parent, but regardless I certainly wouldn't fault someone for not wanting to leave their child in that situation.  </div>

  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:7c82254b-7c6b-49fd-96c1-03695d64bace">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : If I were 5??? I'm pretty sure I wouldn't give a shiit. Actually I would happy I got to hang with kids instead of (boring) grown-ups :) ETA: Hey OP, how old are these kids?
    Posted by CamilleJon[/QUOTE]

    <div>I would have had a total meltdown.  Being left with a stranger would have immediately ended my parents' fun and we'd have all had to go home.  I had (still have) anxiety and that's a huge trigger for me.  I would imagine many kids would feel that way, anxiety or not.</div><div>
    </div><div>I agree with Beach; you can offer the option but you can't force it.</div>
  • Well I am a parent and, to me, it seems a bit unreasonable since I would actually be at the same house.

    And you don't tell the kids they have to go sit a room, you say something like this: "Kids! There is a special party just for you inside the house with all the other kids. There will be movies and games and pizza!"

    OP, I think you should go with your original plan :)
  • As a mom, i really like the idea of having a room inside set aside for the children.  However, if the "babysitter" is unfamiliar to the children, the children may be apprehensive about staying in the house without their parents, would it be possible to have the same sort of arrangement outside away from both "potential dangers"?  If I was a parent attending a wedding with my children in tow, I'm pretty sure I would keep close tabs on my kids because I wouldn't want to be the person who "ruined" your wedding by having a mishap of some sort.
  • There are a total of seven children we expect will be coming; they are ages 11, 7, 5, 4 1/2, 3 1/2, 3, 2, and 2. It's the four youngest kids between 2-3 that are the cause for concern, and the youngest of those is FI's nephew (so he's comfortable in FMIL's house).
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:9675d141-af31-43b9-9bb4-b3e3994627af">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : I would have had a total meltdown.  Being left with a stranger would have immediately ended my parents' fun and we'd have all had to go home.  I had (still have) anxiety and that's a huge trigger for me. <strong> I would imagine many kids would feel that way, anxiety or not. I agree with Beach; you can offer the option but you can't force it.</strong>
    Posted by DramaGeek[/QUOTE]

    I highly doubt too many kids would feel that way. Besides, I imagine most of these kids already know eachother, so they are not with strangers.
    And, again, their parents will be in the backyard.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:8ff9656f-00d7-4182-babf-bd429bb28bef">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]Well I am a parent and, to me, it seems a bit unreasonable since I would actually be at the same house. And you don't tell the kids they have to go sit a room, you say something like this: "Kids! There is a special party just for you inside the house with all the other kids. There will be movies and games and pizza!" OP, I think you should go with your original plan :)
    Posted by CamilleJon[/QUOTE]

    <div>The way I read the OP was that the kids would either need to be strapped into a seat or at the party room, no other options.  I just don't see that as a good idea.  Sure, have the room as an option for parents who don't want to watch their kids or kids who would prefer not to be at the grown up party, but I don't think you can force anything on your invited guests - and the kids are invited guests.</div>
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:0f0089e8-d63c-495f-8a40-cd0c938b7423">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE]In Response to Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences? : The way I read the OP was that the kids would either need to be strapped into a seat or at the party room, no other options.  I just don't see that as a good idea.  Sure, have the room as an option for parents who don't want to watch their kids or kids who would prefer not to be at the grown up party, but I don't think you can force anything on your invited guests - and the kids are invited guests.
    Posted by DramaGeek[/QUOTE]


    OP said that FMIL wants them in highchairs or boosters, but that the parents said they will not sit in them... that leads me to believe they are too old for them.
  • In Response to <a href="http://forums.theknot.com/Sites/theknot/Pages/Main.aspx/wedding-boards_etiquette_kids-roomsbabysitters-experiences?plckFindPostKey=Cat:Wedding%20BoardsForum:9Discussion:fdebc29b-4e89-4639-8bb1-5b870e9465fdPost:2848ed47-4e18-4796-bc71-7c61b813c60a">Re: Kids' rooms/babysitters - your experiences?</a>:
    [QUOTE] Really? <strong>You wouldn't trust your kids with a licensed teacher? I assume you plan to homeschool them through high school then? </strong>Seriously, though, the parents will be in the general vicinity the entire time. I think the indoor room with a babysitter is a wonderful idea! It will be so much more fun for the kids. They can play games, watch movies, and hang out with eachother instead of wondering around the adult's party while their parents are constantly being worried about where and what their kids are doing (that's what I would be doing, at least). Even with a lifeguard there I would still be having to watch them AND entertain them all night. 
    Posted by CamilleJon[/QUOTE]
    Please point out where the OP stated she was going to hire a licensed teacher to babysit at her wedding.<img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-undecided.gif" border="0" alt="Undecided" title="Undecided" /> And making assumptions just makes you look like an ass. <img src="http://cdn.cl9.vanillaforums.com/downloaded/ver1.0/content/scripts/tinymce/plugins/emotions/images/smiley-wink.gif" border="0" alt="Wink" title="Wink" />
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